If the Canadian (Quebecois) animated feature’s characters look family, you might have seen the film THE DOG WHO STOPPED THE WAR which RACETIME is based on or SNOWTIME which is its prequel. RACETIME, as its title implies is a race of sleds.
The subject is the spectacular sled race through the village. Frankie-Four-Eyes and his team, including Sophie as the driver, take on the newcomers: the mysterious and conceited Zac and his athletic cousin Charly. The fantastic sled designed by Frankie disintegrates right before crossing the finish line. This becomes the most bitter loss for Frankie who refuses to accept that he might have made some building mistakes. Frankie gets into a fight with Sophie who blames the sled. Together with his friends, Frankie manages to prove that Zac cheated during the race. Frankie demands a rematch; which Zac accepts on condition that Frankie build an entirely new race track. Frankie and his friends build a spectacular race track. Zac realizes he is up against a worthy opponent so he raises the stakes even more by cornering Frankie into betting the barn. As the two teams prepare for race day, Zac has no scruples about cheating even more to weight the outcome of the race in his favour. But Frankie and his team have a few surprises of their own in store for him.
The Canadian animation can nowhere be compared to the animation of Disney and Pixar studios. But RACETIME holds it own. What it might lack in technology is compensated by creativity. The animation fo the races, the one at the start and the climatic one are both brilliantly conceived and executed with the sleds soaring into the air, while the sleds turn as if cameras were placed in the real sleds. The snow in the animated scenes also looked remarkable real.
The film could do with a solid villain or a nastier Zac than one who merely cheats. The part where Frankie befriends his nemesis treads clichéd territory. However, this can be forgiven for a family film.
The film contains a few scenes with blurry images and a few where objects are flung out (like snow pellets) of the screen. RACETIME must have been conceived as a 3-D film at one point.
Of all the voice characterizations, the best one is Frankie’s. Frankie is voiced, surprisingly by a female, Lucinda Davis, who has to ability to make even the most ordinary of lines like ‘How dare you?’ funny.
For the audience who likes a bit of romance in the story, there is a sub-plot involving the strongest kid in the village, Chuck and Charly, the sister of the cheating Zac. The film also contains a few messages for the young audience – put in for good measure.
There are a few song and dance numbers -the songs courtesy of Cindi Lauper. The animated dance sequence at the end to celebrate the winner of the race is also sufficiently lively.
RACETIME turns out to be an entertaining harmless family romp (never mind the one fart joke), credit to the Canadian and Quebec filmmakers.